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What is the meaning behind the soliloquy in act 3 scene 2 lines 17-33 in Romeo and...

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jaymie23 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 11, 2010 at 5:19 PM via web

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What is the meaning behind the soliloquy in act 3 scene 2 lines 17-33 in Romeo and Juliet?

Act 3 scene 2 lines 17-33
Come, gentle night, come, loving, black-brow'd night,
Give me my Romeo; and, when he shall die,
Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night
And pay no worship to the garish sun.
O, I have bought the mansion of a love,
But not possess'd it, and, though I am sold,
Not yet enjoy'd: so tedious is this day
As is the night before some festival
To an impatient child that hath new robes
And may not wear them. O, here comes my nurse,
And she brings news; and every tongue that speaks
But Romeo's name speaks heavenly eloquence.

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ajmchugh | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted September 12, 2010 at 1:24 AM (Answer #1)

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As Romeo and Juliet are married between Acts 2 and 3, Juliet anxiously awaits their wedding night in Act 3, scene 2.  The lines you're referencing occur at the beginning of the scene; in them, Juliet describes the impatience she feels waiting for Romeo. 

In lines 17-23, Juliet comments on Romeo's allure and says that when he's dead, and if he's cut into "little stars," he'll make the night so beautiful that no one will want it to be daytime.  (Of interest is the pronoun used in line 18.  In early editions of the play, the line read "when I shall die," and text with this edition often footnote that Juliet might mean that when she's dead she'll share Romeo's beauty with the world.  The pronoun was changed from "I" to "he" in the Fourth Quarto.)

In the rest of the lines you list, Juliet uses figurative language to describe the impatience she feels while waiting for Romeo.  She comares her impatience to the eagerness of a child who has new clothes but is not yet allowed to wear them, and she likens her new (but not yet consummated) marriage to Romeo to a "mansion of a love" which she has bought but not yet "possessed."

Finally, when Juliet sees the Nurse returning, she remarks that any news containing Romeo's name is "heavenly." 

Again, these lines all show how eager Juliet is to see Romeo. 

 

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